Writer: Alan Moore
Only in the comics industry of fifteen years ago would Moore's essay be lauded as a ground-breaking performance. Don't get me wrong, he's spot on about everything, but the everything in question is the bleeding obvious, surely, to all but the hacks who churned out rubbish month after month at Marvel and DC - oh, and the weirdos who continue to send us juvenile imitations of it every month, scratched in biro and reproduced in black and white, as if self-publication is some guarantee of quality and earns them the inherent right to our shelves.
Moore displays a clarity and lucidity which aren't so easy in such a task; also a candour and an extraordinary generosity in giving the less inspired than himself something to chew on - and perhaps emulate. Of course, that's where the potential danger lies: taking Alan's riffs and running with them without the invention and consideration that went behind them in the first place. Alan's quick to identify the danger, but in publishing the piece pretty much guaranteed it would happen. Which it did.
In his modern follow-up in the back Moore addresses the dangers for those now experiencing considerable success - resting on one's laurels, fearing to lose one's dignity: "This is a trap that will turn you into a lifeless marble bust of yourself before you're even dead." Wise words indeed. I think it's time we reviewed something that wasn't by Alan Moore, don't you?
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